Mrs Cranks Chemistry class was always boisterous and loud. As stern and boring as she was, they rarely listened in her class and then they had to do experiments. No one had a clue what they were supposed to be doing, and all they had to help them figure it out was a small sheet of instructions. More often than not that ended in yelling.
Or all three.
The fire department had a cue for when the school alarms go off. The main alarm had to go off and the call had to come through to confirm it was a fire, instead of the other way around like every other school.
“This feels too easy,” Zangi said.
She had a point. They were just holding test tubes of water over a Bunsen burner. After their lesson on titration that had taken four hours to get one experiment to work, this seemed too easy.
“We’re probably doing it wrong then,” Tiana shrugged.
“Set up another Bunsen burner. We’ll speed this up if two of us work at the same time,” Ravi suggested.
“I get some matches,” Tiana said.
She wriggled between the mass of people crowding around the only working tap, so she could get to the front of the classroom.
Zangi’s beautiful black hair slipped out from its hairband as she knelt down to get a Bunsen burner from the cupboard. She placed it on the side where they were working.
Ravi watched as Zangi tried to fit a thin hair band over her thick hair.
“That’s never going to work. I’ve got a better band in my bag,” she said.
Their bags were kept out of the way, by the front door. Zangi and Ravi weaved through the class to find the hairband.
“No, Molly, look, it needs to be on a blue flame,” Clare explained to the ginger girl in the group next to Zangi and the others.
“How do you put it on a blue flame then?” Molly asked.
Clare couldn’t get through to their Bunsen, so she demonstrated on the one that wasn’t yet lit. She twisted the bar at the bottom to close it.
“When it’s closed its yellow, ok?” She explained. Then she moved it to open the gap again. “Open is blue.”
“I know that, I’m not a complete idiot!” Molly huffed.
“Could have fooled me,” Hadika teased.
Molly gave Hadika a playful shove. Hadika put her hands out to stop herself falling. She hit her hand against the gas tap, but thought it was against the cupboard handle.
“You alright Hadika?” Tiana asked as she came back over.
“Yeah, fine. I just hit my hand,” she explained.
“Do you know where these two clowns went?” Tiana asked.
Hadika gestured to Zangi and Ravi in the corner. Zangi had flipped her safety apron around the wrong way, and stood on a chair, pretending to be a super hero. Ravi was holding it up so it appeared to flap. Tiana giggled.
Mrs Crank had left the room, so Tiana grabbed her phone from her apron pocket, and weaved her way to her friends, so she could take a picture of Super Zangi.
Hadika, Clare and Molly laughed at them, before returning to their work. With everyone messing around, laughing, and yelling, no one could hear the gas hissing its way through the Bunsen burner, and into the room.
When Miss Crank came back into the room, the first thing she saw was Zangi and Ravi.
“Err, ladies! What are you doing?!” Miss Crank demanded.
Tiana immediately pretended to pick up something off of the side, and hurried back to their experiment to avoid being told off too. Zangi and Ravi looked at each other in surprise, waiting for the other to answer.
“Get this tidied up please, and then go back to your station!” She ordered.
“Yes miss,” they chorused.
By the time they got back to Tiana, she had finished one of their boiling tubes. There were only two left.
“We’ll start on this one,” Ravi said.
She picked up the box of matches, and it was immediately stolen from her hand by Zangi. Zangi liked striking matches. Ravi just rolled her eyes and let Zangi do her thing.
The match head sat on the edge of the box. Ravi suddenly smelt the gas. She gasped.
It was too late.
A yellow blast of fire engulfed their workspace. Zangi was thrown back, into Tiana, who smacked into a chair on the way down to the floor. As the rest of the girls started screaming, the high pitched fire alarm joined in.
Ravi’s eardrums were fit to burst as she helped drag Tiana and Zangi to their feet. Both of them were in agony. Zangi because she had a blast of fire to the face; Tiana because she had a huge bruise across her side from hitting the chair.
Mrs Crank was yelling at them to leave. She was desperately trying to usher them out of the room. Tiana grabbed their bags from the corner of the room, before she left.
The year sevens were screeching in panic, the year eights were yelling in alarm, the year nines were chattering excitedly, the year tens were cheering, the year elevens were groaning about missing lessons so close to their GCSEs, and the sixth formers were just leaving. Since it was definitely going to be lunch before the alarm finished, the sixth formers were free to go home as soon as they had informed their tutors they were still alive.
All this noise, combined with teachers yelling to keep everyone moving, and the alarm still screaming, it was almost impossible to hear anything.
Hordes of students in navy blazers and baby blue and white checkered blouses, flooded the mostly dead field. They squelched across the sodden mud with the younger years squealing and complaining. The older years - hardened from years of experience with the faulty alarm system that they had never quiet managed to fix - scoffed and rolled their eyes before marching into the mud to join their ranks.
Simi and Tahati came bounding across the mud, to attack Tiana, Ravi and Zangi from behind. They yelled in surprise, and huffed when they realised who it was.
“Why are you so happy?” Ravi asked.
“Got out of chemistry with Bash-a-rat didn’t we?” Simi grinned.
“What’s up with you?” Tahati asked Zangi.
Zangi was still flushed in the alarm of almost exploding. She opened her mouth to answer, but no words came out.
“We set off the alarm,” Tiana explained.
Simi laughed and hit Ravi, playfully. “Well done! I hadn’t done my homework!”
“How?” Tahati asked.
Ravi and Tiana shared a look of alarm and hesitance. This caused Simi and Tahati to share a look of confusion and hope. This was going to be a really dumb story. They could tell.
Since they were all in the same form, (except for Zangi, but she was in the class in the next line, with Sapphire) they clubbed together in the line, to finish telling the story. Simi and Tahati were stuck between looking horrified, and laughing.
Once they made sure Zangi was ok, they made up their mind.
This was HILARIOUS.
Sapphire had wandered into the conversation midway through the story, but was laughing louder than anyone else.
“TIANA?! WHERE’S TIANA?!” their tutor yelled.
Tiana turned around and came face to face with him. “I’m right in front of you dude!”
Mr Chaudhuri was a tubby man who thought a bit of rough stubble made him a badman. He stopped caring about his appearance after his marriage. He indulged in his love of food. Anything halal that was left in the room alone for a minute, wasn’t there afterwards.
Right now he was bundled up in a grey-blue coat and a cotton scarf pushed out on his chest. He had beetle eyes, and a sleek black cane with a silver handle. He didn’t need it, it was for style.
“Alphabetical order girls, you know this, come on!”
“Bismillah,” Tahati muttered impatiently.
With a great lot of groaning, they separated, and shuffled into ordered like cards in a deck. Tahati pulled her black coat collar up against the chilly breeze. As she did, someone in the next line shoved past her.
“Hey!” Tahati snapped.
“Watch where you going!” they spat back.
Tahati stepped forward, ready to follow and attack, but she felt a hand on her shoulder. She turned to scowl at Sapphire. Sapphire shook her head firmly, and pushed her back into her line. Tahati had to be content with shooting death glares over her shoulder.
“Stay close. They won’t register you if you’re not in line,” Simi muttered.
Simi was immediately behind Tahati, and wanted to go back into school, before lunch started. Mostly because year elevens were one of the closest to the exit, so were first to leave, which gave them a chance to beat the daily rush to the canteen for a change.
It took a while for the students to settle down. All the while the deputy head (a tall, scrawny, balding man who was aged like a tomato left in the sun) screamed at them to be quiet through a megaphone. When that didn’t work, he used his PE whistle to shut them up, like dogs. Because, as we all know, children respond to whistles and yells with the same obedience as a dog. Mr Chaudhuri muttered something about making his boss swallow that whistle if he blew it in his ear one more time, to Miss Lugess, who hummed in grumpy agreement.
The year elevens were the first to quiet down. They wanted to go back in the warmth, and the only way to do it was to be quiet.
Mr Edwards (a sandy haired lanky guy with a scrubby beard, shocking blue eyes, and the kind of kiss-arse sappy attitude that got anyone a place on the Staff Leadership Team (SLT) in this school) kept reminding them of the fact that they were wasting their own time. Unfortunately, since he was one of the few young male teachers in this all-girls school, several of the students had a crush on him. All of them went doughy eyed and instantly obeyed him. The others rolled their eyes at how pathetic he was, while he begged them to be quiet too.
When the grizzled, ancient, beanpole of a head teachers came walking by, in heels inappropriate for school and useless for walking on mud, and a floral dress so short it showed off her wrinkled thigh, two things happened.
Firstly, Mr Conduit, the deputy head, became a catfish. He sucked up to her, and cooed about how amazing his year elevens were, and showed off about how the year he was (supposedly but never actually acted as) head of, was so well behaved for him.
all of the students became very confused about why their deputy head was sucking up to a strange, leathery woman, whom they had never seen before.
The only times the head teacher showed her leathery face (or, in fact, bothered to come in to the school grounds) was for the beginning and end of year assemblies, and to welcome in the new victims. I mean, the New Year sevens. Other than that she left the management of the school, to the SLT. This gave the students -and the majority of staff - a confused idea of who was in control of what.
“I feel like I really have the girl’s respect, and that helps me to control them,” Mr Conduit bragged.
“That’s an oxymoron,” Sapphire muttered spitefully.
“No it’s a bloody lie!” Ravi fumed.
“What do you expect from the man who told the entire year refugee children can’t get an education because we have it instead?” Tiana spat.
“He’s a useless bin liner,” Zangi muttered in the line beside them.
Ravi hummed in agreement. Then she frowned in confusion, which wrinkled her nose and made her look like a rabbit. She was sure she could hear sirens.
“Take the year elevens back inside. Find the caretaker, and take him to my office. We are going to find out who set off this alarm, and they’re going to apologize to the firemen, personally,” the head said, quietly.
“Firemen?” Mr Conduit repeated in surprise.
“Firemen?!” Tiana repeated, louder.
“Firemen?!” Ravi and Zangi repeated in surprise.
“Firemen!” Sapphire cackled in delight.
“Firemen!” the eyes of the chavs lit up, already thinking of pickup lines.
“Firemen?” the other lines of students echoed in confusion and surprise.
“Fire engine!” Tahati breathed in wonder, her eyes shining with excitement.
Simi rolled her eyes.
The head teacher scowled at Mr Conduit, furiously. He was growing a little hot under the collar as she did. Before she could rip into him, he began ushering the year eleven students into the school. The moment he let her tutor group go, Tiana ran to Ravi.
“They’re going to realize we set off the fire alarm! They’re going to put us in front of the firemen!” she hissed.
Ravi cursed loudly, in panic. “What do we do?!”
“Run,” Simi sniggered.
“Hide,” Sapphire smirked.
“Fire engine!” Tahati said, dreamily.
Tiana and Ravi shared a look. At the same time they set off, racing towards Zangi. They grabbed her under each arm, and whisked her off of her feet before explaining why.
The others watched, laughing, as Zangi rived against them to try and escape their grip.
“They’re boned fam,” Sapphire said.
“Man wouldn’t want to be them,” Simi said.
“FIRE ENGINE!” Tahati squealed as the flashing sirens suddenly spun into view.